Secondary Source Video:
In this 2014 video Ben Ferencz, who was the youngest prosecutor from the Nuremberg Trials describes his vision for a peaceful future and the International Criminal Court to the students of Leiden Law School in The Netherlands.
I agree with Ben Ferencz that the current system of war making is inhumane and cruel and must be stopped. Some politicians and people who have the power to change the current system of war making think the idea of settling things in a non-violent, non-military way is impossible. They said heart transplants were impossible but we do them today. They said space travel was impossible yet we have been to the moon and back. The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of money to be made on war – but Blood Money is Blood Money no matter how you look at it – and Human Life is so much more important than money. Humans are capable of great change. The way to change the current system of war making is through education and law. Heart Transplants did not happen overnight but we learned how to do them. Space Travel did not happen overnight and yet we are now bored with these things. Anything worthwhile takes time. I pray that one day we get bored with making war and finally get serious about world peace. Our Lives Depend On It.
In Emma Green’s article “The Last Man at Nuremberg: The life of 95-year-old Benjamin Ferencz, the only living prosecutor from the war-crime trials that followed the Holocaust”, she tells the story of the then twenty seven year old prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz. http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/05/the-last-man-at-nuremberg/361968/
He prosecuted case number nine, the Einsatzgruppen Case at the Nuremberg Trials. Einsatzgruppen means exterminators.
“Ferencz joined the forces that liberated a number of concentration camps in what was then Germany, including Buchenwald and Mauthausen. He collected documentation: the number of bodies, and where they were located; the sanitary conditions of the camps; the files left behind by army officials, including ledgers recording who had died, and when. It was this evidence that eventually led to the speedy conviction of the Einsatzgruppen commanders. “I was able to rest my case after two days without calling a single witness—the top-secret documents were indisputable,” Ferencz said (Green).
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum calls the Einsatzgruppen “mobile killing units” http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005130. The Einsatzgruppen were also responsible for the elimination of thousands of mentally and physically disabled persons.
Shooting was the most common form of killing used by the Einsatzgruppen. Yet in the late summer of 1941, Heinrich Himmler, noting the psychological burden that mass shootings produced on his men, requested that a more convenient mode of killing be developed. The result was the gas van, a mobile gas chamber surmounted on the chassis of a cargo truck which employed carbon monoxide from the truck’s exhaust to kill its victims. Gas vans made their first appearance on the eastern front in late fall 1941, and were eventually utilized, along with shooting, to murder Jews and other victims in most areas where the Einsatzgruppen operated (http://www.ushmm.org/).
The lessons learned from all of this senseless madness are that we need to change. Ben told me once that the only way to stop atrocities such as this is to create laws to prevent it. He went on to help create the International Criminal Court. Simply put the ICC was created so that instead of sending young people to war for the purpose of killing people they never met we should let the politicians fight out their differences in a court of law, and let the young people live their lives, not die for the cause.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
The ICC is an independent international organization, and is not part of the United Nations system. Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities (www.icc-cpi.int). I feel that instead of funding war and the weapons needed to make war the United States and its Allies should include more funding for the ICC and its work in their budgets.
In the days of the old west two people would go outside draw their guns and fire; that’s murder. Ben told me war is murder, and murder in any form is illegal. We now have school shootings and church shootings; their killing people in movie theaters and concert halls. I don’t really know what the answer is but I agree with Ben that the old way just isn’t working. Maybe we should try it Ben’s way? He saw mass graves containing men, women and children. He saw bodies still burning in the crematoria. He closes his eyes and can see the images of hell as clearly as he saw them as a young man. Not a movie setting but the real hell created by mankind. He has seen things no person should ever have to witness and now we are seeing some of those horrors in our own streets today. No one should have to die because you don’t like the way they worship God or because they are a different race. I’d like to try it Ben’s way.